Gary Anthony James Webb (born 8 March 1958), better known by his stage name Gary Numan, is an English singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. Born in Hammersmith, London, he first entered the music industry as the lead singer of the new wave band Tubeway Army. After releasing two albums with the band, Numan released his debut solo album The Pleasure Principle in 1979. Most widely known for his chart-topping hits "Are 'Friends' Electric?" and "Cars", Numan achieved his peak of mainstream popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but maintains a loyal cult following.
Numan, whose signature sound consists of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals, is considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music.
Born in Hammersmith, England, Gary Anthony James Webb was the son of a British Airways bus driver based at Heathrow Airport. Webb was educated at Town Farm Junior School in Stanwell, Surrey and Ashford County Grammar School, then Slough Grammar School, Berkshire and Brooklands Technical College, Surrey. He joined the Air Training Corps as a teenager. He then briefly did various jobs including fork lift truck driver, air conditioning ventilator fitter, and clerk in an accounts department. When Numan was 15 years old, his father bought him a Gibson Les Paul guitar, which he regards as his most treasured possession. He played in various bands, including Mean Street and The Lasers, before forming Tubeway Army with his uncle, Jess Lidyard, and Paul Gardiner. His initial pseudonym was "Valerian", probably in reference to the hero in French science fiction comic series Valérian and Laureline. Later he picked the name "Numan" from an advert in the Yellow Pages for a plumber named A. Neumann...
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